The Acacia Strain


Written by: AP on 02/09/2008 19:33:38

Just as I thought music couldn't become more repulsively mean and dirty than some of the day's deathcore acts, a forgotten monstrosity shuffled itself to assault my ears, demanding an immediate, unforgiving review to address the fact that no matter what horrendous noise assaults your recent listening habits may have unearthed, it's likely that their creators would fall silent at the mere mention of The Acacia Strain's name. Of course all of that may be untrue, "Continent" probably doesn't stand alone, and even more probably it feels pretty soft and sentimental next to some of the subterranean grime that Ellis would be delighted to dig up for you, but it's not often that dirt of this caliber finds its way to my list of voluntarily and independently acquired music.

First impressions manifest themselves as fear and loathing, and disbelief in the fact that guitars can even be tuned this low without losing effective control over the strings. Album opener "Skynet" mows down the concepts of musical theory and deepens my understanding of how soiled a sound the electric guitar is capable of. It drones in with a tempo so glacial that the subsequent two downward shifts no longer seem plausible, and simply defy the song's credibility as music. It's startling and frustrating, and yet so fascinating to hear something pushed to the absolute extremes with no regard for aesthetics. Despite the fact that "Continent" rarely sways from riff-less chugging and boisterous breakdowns, the songs actually work, against all odds. Such constant, down-tuned dissonance often makes an album sound anonymous, but by concentrating solely on sounding as ruthless and dirty as possible, The Acacia Strain are able to turn it to their advantage and come across as resolute, and even proud of being able to offend our ears so exclusively.

Admittedly "Continent" is not an album for everyone. It's almost completely devoid of hooks, riffs and melody. Instead, it's a punishing journey into dark intrigue that grows and reveals more of itself on each listen, but never loosens its stranglehold. Those rare moments of less mastodonic instrumental endeavor unleash themselves only for the patient and the cheaters, in the grandiose closing track "The Behemoth", like an epilogue to what the album wasn't and didn't have. But while moshpit-prone hardcore kids will find much to rave about here, the album, as many of its predecessors and contemporaries, suffers from remembrance factor zero. If you're pissed off and in the mood for some pure, misanthropic hate, slide this one in your drive. If not, but you still feel like it deserves a chance, bear in mind that it has catastrophic consequences for mental wellness, particularly feelings of joy, lightheartedness and love.


Download: Skynet, Dr Doom, Baby Buster
For the fans of: Animosity, Emmure, The Red Chord
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.08.2008

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